Transportation in Williamsburg, Virginia
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The Norfolk International Airport and Richmond International Airport, each located about 55 miles away via Interstate highways, are larger and offer considerably more flights. Williamsburg is roughly equidistant from these two airports. However, due to traffic concerns in crossing the harbor of Hampton Roads at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, the Richmond airport is often a shorter driving time away.
The Williamsburg Jamestown Airport is a small general aviation airport located approximately 3 miles southwest of Williamsburg, that provides services for personal and charter aircraft, as well as related services (aviation goods, car rentals, etc.)
Williamsburg is located adjacent to Interstate 64 which parallels U.S. Route 60 and runs east-west in the area. State Route 199, officially named the Humelsine Parkway (after former Colonial Williamsburg President Carl Humelsine), surrounds the city in a semicircle. State Route 5 links the city with the James River Plantations along the north shore of the James River, Interstate 295 and Richmond. State Route 31 links the city to Jamestown and the toll-free Jamestown Ferry.
The Colonial Parkway provides a bucolic low-speed link between the points of the Historic Triangle which in addition to Colonial Williamsburg, includes Jamestown and Yorktown. It passes under the "Restored Area" in a tunnel. With the exception of buses, commercial vehicles are not allowed on the Parkway.
In the "restored" or Historic Area, motorized traffic is not allowed on Duke of Gloucester Street, helping visitors to gain a perspective of what life was really like transportation-wise in the colonial days (before the invention of the automobile). There are bus stops and some parking areas located conveniently nearby, however. The only exceptions to this are for residents living in the historic area, and members of Bruton Parish Church, who have limited access and parking on Sundays.
Transportation center: intercity rail, bus and local services
More comprehensively than many other U.S. destinations, Williamsburg offers good non-automobile driving alternatives for visitors and citizens, both getting there, and moving around locally. The area has both a central intermodal transportation center and an extensive public transit bus system prepared to serve local users and visitors. The centrally-located public transportation center is located near the Historic Area, the College of William and Mary, and the downtown area. It affords easy access to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor's Center and virtually all types of passenger ground transportation services are located there.
The Williamsburg Transportation Center is located in a restored building which was formerly a Chesapeake and Ohio Railway station. It is served by several Amtrak trains a day, with direct service to Newport News, Richmond, and points along the Northeast Corridor from Washington DC through New York City to Boston. Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines (Carolina Trailways) and Hampton Roads Transit (HRT).
The center also offers several modes of local transportation. Williamsburg Area Transport (WAT) uses the center as a transfer hub for its network of handicapped accessible transit bus routes serving the city, James City County, and most portions of York County adjacent to the Williamsburg area, with hourly service 6 days a week during daytime and evening hours. Taxicabs and rental cars are also based at the transportation center.
The Commonwealth of Virginia and Department of Motor Vehicles has certified a local bus company, Oleta Coach Lines, Inc., to operate a public bus route from the Williamsburg Transportation Center to several large shopping malls in the Hampton Roads area. The bus route] runs from Williamsburg to Hampton, to Newport News then back to Williamsburg. It runs twice on Tuesdays. This has been certified as a Public Convenience and Necessity bus route.
Local bus services: WAT, CW, and W&M
The community's public bus system, Williamsburg Area Transport (WAT), has its central hub at the transportation center. Various color-coded routes, with buses accessible to disabled persons, serve many hotels and motels, restaurants, stores, and non-CW attractions in the City of Williamsburg and much of neighboring James City County and part of York County. The system also provides paratransit services and operates replica trolley buses at the Yorktown Riverfront attraction.
WAT connects with the much larger Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) (Route 116) bus system at Lee Hall in northwestern Newport News and at the Williamsburg Transportation Center (HRT Route 121). HRT routes connect to many other cities to the east in Hampton Roads and Greyhound Lines bus routes serve a nationwide network.
WAT also operates a bus line for the College of William and Mary and its students, faculty, and staff, connecting the central university campus with points in the city of Williamsburg and James City County, the law school campus, and various outlying dormitories and auxiliary buildings owned or operated by the university that are not contiguous with the main campus.